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Hey Welcome! I’m Crispina ffrench
Artist, Educator, Empowerer, Plant Eater,
Nature Lover, Cookie Baker, Climate Change Activist
I’m glad you are here, Now let’s make shift happen.

Scrapbox Challenge - Sarah Wilson

A couple times a day for the next week or so you will find features right here about the creative adventurers who jumped, with both feet into the wild world of textile recycling by joining me for Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.  This came about due to the overflowing scrap bins in my ‘zero-waste’ company and my lack of time and focus to use said material to develop new product.  

The call went out on March 1, 2020 and applications stayed open for a solid week.  The response was AMAZING!  Limited only by the volume of scrap in my studio, we chose 50 people at random from the pool, to participate in the challenge.

Crispina's Scrapbox Challenge is part recycling ingenuity, part creative high-jinx and part design competition. Online voting kicks off right here on Earthday. One GRAND PRIZE winner and three runners up will be chosen by voters. Bookmark this link and be sure to participate by voting!

1. Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

I'm a 53yo mom to two teenagers, wife to a fabulous (now retired) husband for 23 years and 'person' to a doodle named Libby. I was born a maker, trained as a classical musician, worked as a park ranger and spent 13 years as a stay-at-home-mother. I love to learn any new craft that has to do with fiber or fabric but my true passion lies in dyeing wool fiber, handspinning yarn and knitting. I am a utilitarian artist - mostly striving for simplicity and use in everything I create.


2. Talk about your first awareness of textile recycling.

Taught to knit by my grandmother, Bettie, at 6 years old, my creativity has been nurtured since my very first memory of sitting with her and making things. I started re-using fabrics in my early 20s (1987 or 88?) when I began developing a love for the flea market. I combed Scott Antique Flea Market in Columbus, OH for vintage table cloths, cool trims, fabric scraps, vintage men's hats and vintage/antique silk flowers. It was one of those late 1980s summers that I signed up for a booth at the local arts fair and I nearly sold out of my tablecloth vests and silk flower adorned hats. I also began collecting vintage and antique pieces of clothing with the aspiration of someday reproducing them. I took a couple of flat pattern design courses to learn about clothing structure and became fascinated with clothing construction. Those clothing pieces are still waiting for their turn on the pattern table. In the meantime, I just keep building my stash, collecting inspiration and waiting for retirement.


3. How did you learn about Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.

Some time in the late 1990s, my mother sent me a page from a magazine featuring a wool potholder rug. I was blown away by how amazing it was. Crispina's name has stuck with me from that moment forward. In my stash recently, I came across a catalog I ordered from her a long time ago and now being in the age of social media, I wondered if she had a profile I might be able to follow. She had always unknowingly provided me with such inspiration and I wondered what she was working on these days. Low and behold, she had an Instagram profile and I began following her. I feel like I've known her for so many years and yet, we've never met. When I read about the Scrapbox Challenge on her feed, I wasted no time entering my name for a chance to participate. I was beyond excited when I found out I would be receiving a box to participate in the challenge.


4. What has participation in the challenge meant to you, and why.  Be honest.

Despite being a maker, I have never really considered myself a very creative person. I watch and learn and absorb inspiration and ideas from many people and their work - but I don't think I'm INVENTIVE. Despite that, I always love to throw my hat in the ring on the off chance that I might actually be able to run with the big dogs. I think to myself that, 'if nothing else, I might make some good connections with highly talented and creative people and learn something valuable or make a new friend...'

All of my creativity has taken a back seat the past few years. We were renovating our house in Iowa one room at a time and just after my husband retired last June, I landed a new job that would involve a move. We gutted the kitchen and finished the remodel days before closing on the house. Then we had to start all over again in a new city, finding a home and moving in and getting settled - painting, organizing, etc: all the things you do when you start again in a new place. This challenge was a chance for me to bring my creative energy front and center and do something for myself for a while. And then this worldwide crisis happened...making the quiet time I sat and contemplated and cut and sewed on this project, all that more important. It was also a great opportunity for me to involve my husband and kids. My son got to express his creativity with the little stop motion unboxing film I posted and my daughter and husband cheered me on and occasionally interjected with their color or design thoughts. And while we're being honest...who wouldn't want to win some crazy amazing item from Crispina's shop?!


5. What are you two biggest struggles?

This is the easiest question for me to answer. 1: I don't carve out enough time for myself. Everyone and everything ALWAYS comes first. 2: I never give myself enough credit...for anything.


6. Three things that bring you joy.  Explain

1. Feeling healthy and strong. I have a good amount of work to do in this category, but at certain points in my life when I have been in good shape, eating well and getting sufficient sleep, I find that just having that overall WELLNESS about me, makes life so much easier to enjoy. It's so easy to slip into bad eating habits and to get lazy and deny myself daily fresh air and exercise. But as my husband and I move slowly toward being empty nesters, I have become acutely aware of how important it is to focus on my own health and wellness and when I do - I am a MUCH happier person.

2. Color. Single, saturated colors or combinations of colors...it doesn't matter. I am in absolute AWE of colors I find in nature or in artwork, in fabric or paint...I could spend entire days exploring colors.

3. A sense of accomplishment. There is nothing better than making my way through a project and getting to the end and looking back on it and saying, "I made that!".


7. How can Crispina serve you as we venture forward in this uncertain time?

Crispina gives so much of herself and I cannot express how grateful I am for her. Her utilitarian creativity that also serves the earth and brings so much joy and inspiration to others, in my mind, is unmatched and I'm thrilled just to be a part of something she has started. I look to her as beacon - a force of artistic nature - standing up before all of us screaming, "I have an idea and I'm hoping you all are willing to help me make it work!" That inspires me to work harder, to be better and to grab other people along the way and say, "Come on! Let's go do this great thing together!!". Crispina has already 'served' so many...who could possibly ask more of her?

Scrapbox Challenge - Sarah Wilson

A couple times a day for the next week or so you will find features right here about the creative adventurers who jumped, with both feet into the wild world of textile recycling by joining me for Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.  This came about due to the overflowing scrap bins in my ‘zero-waste’ company and my lack of time and focus to use said material to develop new product.  

The call went out on March 1, 2020 and applications stayed open for a solid week.  The response was AMAZING!  Limited only by the volume of scrap in my studio, we chose 50 people at random from the pool, to participate in the challenge.

Crispina's Scrapbox Challenge is part recycling ingenuity, part creative high-jinx and part design competition. Online voting kicks off right here on Earthday. One GRAND PRIZE winner and three runners up will be chosen by voters. Bookmark this link and be sure to participate by voting!

1. Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

I'm a 53yo mom to two teenagers, wife to a fabulous (now retired) husband for 23 years and 'person' to a doodle named Libby. I was born a maker, trained as a classical musician, worked as a park ranger and spent 13 years as a stay-at-home-mother. I love to learn any new craft that has to do with fiber or fabric but my true passion lies in dyeing wool fiber, handspinning yarn and knitting. I am a utilitarian artist - mostly striving for simplicity and use in everything I create.


2. Talk about your first awareness of textile recycling.

Taught to knit by my grandmother, Bettie, at 6 years old, my creativity has been nurtured since my very first memory of sitting with her and making things. I started re-using fabrics in my early 20s (1987 or 88?) when I began developing a love for the flea market. I combed Scott Antique Flea Market in Columbus, OH for vintage table cloths, cool trims, fabric scraps, vintage men's hats and vintage/antique silk flowers. It was one of those late 1980s summers that I signed up for a booth at the local arts fair and I nearly sold out of my tablecloth vests and silk flower adorned hats. I also began collecting vintage and antique pieces of clothing with the aspiration of someday reproducing them. I took a couple of flat pattern design courses to learn about clothing structure and became fascinated with clothing construction. Those clothing pieces are still waiting for their turn on the pattern table. In the meantime, I just keep building my stash, collecting inspiration and waiting for retirement.


3. How did you learn about Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.

Some time in the late 1990s, my mother sent me a page from a magazine featuring a wool potholder rug. I was blown away by how amazing it was. Crispina's name has stuck with me from that moment forward. In my stash recently, I came across a catalog I ordered from her a long time ago and now being in the age of social media, I wondered if she had a profile I might be able to follow. She had always unknowingly provided me with such inspiration and I wondered what she was working on these days. Low and behold, she had an Instagram profile and I began following her. I feel like I've known her for so many years and yet, we've never met. When I read about the Scrapbox Challenge on her feed, I wasted no time entering my name for a chance to participate. I was beyond excited when I found out I would be receiving a box to participate in the challenge.


4. What has participation in the challenge meant to you, and why.  Be honest.

Despite being a maker, I have never really considered myself a very creative person. I watch and learn and absorb inspiration and ideas from many people and their work - but I don't think I'm INVENTIVE. Despite that, I always love to throw my hat in the ring on the off chance that I might actually be able to run with the big dogs. I think to myself that, 'if nothing else, I might make some good connections with highly talented and creative people and learn something valuable or make a new friend...'

All of my creativity has taken a back seat the past few years. We were renovating our house in Iowa one room at a time and just after my husband retired last June, I landed a new job that would involve a move. We gutted the kitchen and finished the remodel days before closing on the house. Then we had to start all over again in a new city, finding a home and moving in and getting settled - painting, organizing, etc: all the things you do when you start again in a new place. This challenge was a chance for me to bring my creative energy front and center and do something for myself for a while. And then this worldwide crisis happened...making the quiet time I sat and contemplated and cut and sewed on this project, all that more important. It was also a great opportunity for me to involve my husband and kids. My son got to express his creativity with the little stop motion unboxing film I posted and my daughter and husband cheered me on and occasionally interjected with their color or design thoughts. And while we're being honest...who wouldn't want to win some crazy amazing item from Crispina's shop?!


5. What are you two biggest struggles?

This is the easiest question for me to answer. 1: I don't carve out enough time for myself. Everyone and everything ALWAYS comes first. 2: I never give myself enough credit...for anything.


6. Three things that bring you joy.  Explain

1. Feeling healthy and strong. I have a good amount of work to do in this category, but at certain points in my life when I have been in good shape, eating well and getting sufficient sleep, I find that just having that overall WELLNESS about me, makes life so much easier to enjoy. It's so easy to slip into bad eating habits and to get lazy and deny myself daily fresh air and exercise. But as my husband and I move slowly toward being empty nesters, I have become acutely aware of how important it is to focus on my own health and wellness and when I do - I am a MUCH happier person.

2. Color. Single, saturated colors or combinations of colors...it doesn't matter. I am in absolute AWE of colors I find in nature or in artwork, in fabric or paint...I could spend entire days exploring colors.

3. A sense of accomplishment. There is nothing better than making my way through a project and getting to the end and looking back on it and saying, "I made that!".


7. How can Crispina serve you as we venture forward in this uncertain time?

Crispina gives so much of herself and I cannot express how grateful I am for her. Her utilitarian creativity that also serves the earth and brings so much joy and inspiration to others, in my mind, is unmatched and I'm thrilled just to be a part of something she has started. I look to her as beacon - a force of artistic nature - standing up before all of us screaming, "I have an idea and I'm hoping you all are willing to help me make it work!" That inspires me to work harder, to be better and to grab other people along the way and say, "Come on! Let's go do this great thing together!!". Crispina has already 'served' so many...who could possibly ask more of her?

Scrapbox Challenge - Sarah Wilson

A couple times a day for the next week or so you will find features right here about the creative adventurers who jumped, with both feet into the wild world of textile recycling by joining me for Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.  This came about due to the overflowing scrap bins in my ‘zero-waste’ company and my lack of time and focus to use said material to develop new product.  

The call went out on March 1, 2020 and applications stayed open for a solid week.  The response was AMAZING!  Limited only by the volume of scrap in my studio, we chose 50 people at random from the pool, to participate in the challenge.

Crispina's Scrapbox Challenge is part recycling ingenuity, part creative high-jinx and part design competition. Online voting kicks off right here on Earthday. One GRAND PRIZE winner and three runners up will be chosen by voters. Bookmark this link and be sure to participate by voting!

1. Tell our readers a little about you, and your history, your passion, your work.

I'm a 53yo mom to two teenagers, wife to a fabulous (now retired) husband for 23 years and 'person' to a doodle named Libby. I was born a maker, trained as a classical musician, worked as a park ranger and spent 13 years as a stay-at-home-mother. I love to learn any new craft that has to do with fiber or fabric but my true passion lies in dyeing wool fiber, handspinning yarn and knitting. I am a utilitarian artist - mostly striving for simplicity and use in everything I create.


2. Talk about your first awareness of textile recycling.

Taught to knit by my grandmother, Bettie, at 6 years old, my creativity has been nurtured since my very first memory of sitting with her and making things. I started re-using fabrics in my early 20s (1987 or 88?) when I began developing a love for the flea market. I combed Scott Antique Flea Market in Columbus, OH for vintage table cloths, cool trims, fabric scraps, vintage men's hats and vintage/antique silk flowers. It was one of those late 1980s summers that I signed up for a booth at the local arts fair and I nearly sold out of my tablecloth vests and silk flower adorned hats. I also began collecting vintage and antique pieces of clothing with the aspiration of someday reproducing them. I took a couple of flat pattern design courses to learn about clothing structure and became fascinated with clothing construction. Those clothing pieces are still waiting for their turn on the pattern table. In the meantime, I just keep building my stash, collecting inspiration and waiting for retirement.


3. How did you learn about Crispina’s Scrapbox Challenge 2020.

Some time in the late 1990s, my mother sent me a page from a magazine featuring a wool potholder rug. I was blown away by how amazing it was. Crispina's name has stuck with me from that moment forward. In my stash recently, I came across a catalog I ordered from her a long time ago and now being in the age of social media, I wondered if she had a profile I might be able to follow. She had always unknowingly provided me with such inspiration and I wondered what she was working on these days. Low and behold, she had an Instagram profile and I began following her. I feel like I've known her for so many years and yet, we've never met. When I read about the Scrapbox Challenge on her feed, I wasted no time entering my name for a chance to participate. I was beyond excited when I found out I would be receiving a box to participate in the challenge.


4. What has participation in the challenge meant to you, and why.  Be honest.

Despite being a maker, I have never really considered myself a very creative person. I watch and learn and absorb inspiration and ideas from many people and their work - but I don't think I'm INVENTIVE. Despite that, I always love to throw my hat in the ring on the off chance that I might actually be able to run with the big dogs. I think to myself that, 'if nothing else, I might make some good connections with highly talented and creative people and learn something valuable or make a new friend...'

All of my creativity has taken a back seat the past few years. We were renovating our house in Iowa one room at a time and just after my husband retired last June, I landed a new job that would involve a move. We gutted the kitchen and finished the remodel days before closing on the house. Then we had to start all over again in a new city, finding a home and moving in and getting settled - painting, organizing, etc: all the things you do when you start again in a new place. This challenge was a chance for me to bring my creative energy front and center and do something for myself for a while. And then this worldwide crisis happened...making the quiet time I sat and contemplated and cut and sewed on this project, all that more important. It was also a great opportunity for me to involve my husband and kids. My son got to express his creativity with the little stop motion unboxing film I posted and my daughter and husband cheered me on and occasionally interjected with their color or design thoughts. And while we're being honest...who wouldn't want to win some crazy amazing item from Crispina's shop?!


5. What are you two biggest struggles?

This is the easiest question for me to answer. 1: I don't carve out enough time for myself. Everyone and everything ALWAYS comes first. 2: I never give myself enough credit...for anything.


6. Three things that bring you joy.  Explain

1. Feeling healthy and strong. I have a good amount of work to do in this category, but at certain points in my life when I have been in good shape, eating well and getting sufficient sleep, I find that just having that overall WELLNESS about me, makes life so much easier to enjoy. It's so easy to slip into bad eating habits and to get lazy and deny myself daily fresh air and exercise. But as my husband and I move slowly toward being empty nesters, I have become acutely aware of how important it is to focus on my own health and wellness and when I do - I am a MUCH happier person.

2. Color. Single, saturated colors or combinations of colors...it doesn't matter. I am in absolute AWE of colors I find in nature or in artwork, in fabric or paint...I could spend entire days exploring colors.

3. A sense of accomplishment. There is nothing better than making my way through a project and getting to the end and looking back on it and saying, "I made that!".


7. How can Crispina serve you as we venture forward in this uncertain time?

Crispina gives so much of herself and I cannot express how grateful I am for her. Her utilitarian creativity that also serves the earth and brings so much joy and inspiration to others, in my mind, is unmatched and I'm thrilled just to be a part of something she has started. I look to her as beacon - a force of artistic nature - standing up before all of us screaming, "I have an idea and I'm hoping you all are willing to help me make it work!" That inspires me to work harder, to be better and to grab other people along the way and say, "Come on! Let's go do this great thing together!!". Crispina has already 'served' so many...who could possibly ask more of her?

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